Monday, June 19, 2017

BC Hydro Site C 'negotiations': "Indian Reserves and Indian Treaty Problems"

BC Hydro Report

James Bruce Melville  

Indian Reserves and Indian Treaty Problems in North Eastern BC

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British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority is presently studying the feasibility of hydro-electric generation projects on three rives in Northern B.C.

These are the Liard, Iskut and Stikine.

At an early stage in planning, it became apparent that there would be many land related problems associated with all of these projects.  While initially it would appear that most of the those lands are unoccupied, in fact they all lie within areas traditionally used and occupied by native Indians, which use continues today.

Page 111 of 201

Expropriation of lands under the War Measures Act would presumably take place only where there is some war-related purpose or a purpose related to national security.  Should this happen, then the project would be taken out of provincial jurisdiction altogether and become a federal matter.

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Another means that has proven successful, in cases were a small part only is required of a reserve within B.C., is to use the resumptive right retained by the province when the reserve lands were conveyed to the Dominion in 1938.  By the provisions of a pair of reciprocal orders in council, both made under statutory authority, the title to lands set aside by the Province of B.C. for use by Indians was transferred to the federal government.  The terms of this conveyance included several reservation back to the province.  The right to resume up to one-twentieth of a reserve "for making roads, canals, bridges, towing paths, or other works of public utility or convenience" was one such reservation.

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In addition to the assumptive right retained by the province, there was a right to reconveyance of any reserve belonging to a band if it should become extinct (this right has since been abandoned by B.C. O/C 1555; May 13th, 1969), a right to enjoy certain water privileges where needed for nearby mining or agricultural undertakings, a right to take gravel, stone, timber, etc. for public work purposes, and to exemption from the grant of all travelled roads when presently existing over the reserves.  However, none of these appear to be useful in allowing the taking of entire reserves for public purposes.

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Kinder Morgan's pipeline expropriation is starting to look Goooooooooooooood

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